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Data Storage

Submission + - Gas Shortage Could Pop WD's Helium-Drive Plans (

Lucas123 writes: U.S. federal reserves of helium gas are at an all-time low after a 15-year wholesale sell off, which could effect WD's plans to begin manufacturing hard drives filled with the second lightest element. The U.S. reserves, created after WWI, are stored in natural underground rock formations in the Texas Panhandle. Those reserves feed the majority of the world's annual demand of 6.2 billion cubic feet. As supply dwindled, the government had hoped private industry would explore and bring its own sources of helium on line, but that has yet to happen. As a result, the price of helium, which is used in manufacturing semiconductors and cooling super magnets in MRIs and even CERN's Large Hadron Collider, has doubled in the past 10 years.

Submission + - White House Hack Attack (

randini writes: Reported by: Bill Gertz
Hackers linked to China’s government broke into one of the U.S. government’s most sensitive computer networks, breaching a system used by the White House Military Office for nuclear commands, according to defense and intelligence officials familiar with the incident.

One official said the cyber breach was one of Beijing’s most brazen cyber attacks against the United States and highlights a failure of the Obama administration to press China on its persistent cyber attacks.
The official said there was no impact or attempted breach of a classified system within the office.

“This is the most sensitive office in the U.S. government,” said a former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the work of the office. “A compromise there would cause grave strategic damage to the United States.”

The Military

Submission + - The US Navy's awesome electromagnetic railgun programme (

RougeFive writes: Imagine a warship weapon that can launch projectiles at Mach 10 without explosives (more than three times the muzzle speed of an M16 rifle), that has a range 220 miles and that uses the enormous speed to destroy the target by causing as much damage as a Tomahawk missile. Meet the US Navy's electromagnetic railgun programme.

Comment Zone-out time is important (Score 1) 351

Think about the last time you had a revelation -- walking somewhere by yourself, washing yourself in the shower, driving somewhere without the radio on. That's valuable thinking time.

I used to be on Twitter dozens of times a day -- no pictures of the meal I was about to eat, but lots of surfing. I took a two week trip to China, and limited my wireless access to a few times a day for E-Mail only -- the rest of the time I was off the grid. Now I'm back in Canada, I'm continuing that trend -- I've visted Twitter a few times, but my participation is way down. Even riding the subway with my eyes closed is a nice respite from a busy day.

It's important to get your brain some time off.

Comment I saw him speak in California in May, 1982 (Score 2) 315

I happened to be touring a university campus (UCLA? Berkeley?) and saw a poster for a talk he was giving, and bought a ticket on a whim. He was a fascinating speaker, and it was intriguing to hear him re-engineer and expand on Fahrenheit 451. What a treat. Afterwards, he gladly stayed behind and autographed books for quite a while.

I also remember something about him being arrested in Paris, France for being 'drunk and in charge of a bicycle'. What's not to like?


Comment Best before age 35? Pffffft. (Score 1) 1

> Many programmers find that their employability starts to decline at about age 35.

Well, it sure does decline if you don't continue to learn.

I made that mistake about 15 years into my career, deciding that C would do me fine; I wouldn't have to learn any new languages, ever. Then the Internet boom happened, and I picked up Perl, which then helped me find well-paying jobs for the next 14 years. I'm going to start using C again now, and .. 35 was almost twenty years ago. And I'm still finding gigs.

Submission + - Motorola asks judge to remove Windows from german market (

xonen writes:

Microsoft could lose its rights to distribute in Germany products that use the H.264 video standard and the 802.11 WiFi standard, pending a court ruling on April 17. According to Motorola, those products infringe on its patents.

If the court rules that Microsoft indeed infringes on Motorola's intellectual property in its use of these standardized technologies, this could exclude Microsoft from the German market and cause irreparable harm to Microsoft and the public, Microsoft claimed in court documents filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington on Wednesday. The software company asked the U.S. court for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction preventing Motorola from enforcing any legal victory in its case being heard in Mannheim, Germany, until a U.S. lawsuit between both companies is decided.

Microsoft said it had to resort to filing for a preliminary injunction in the United States because Motorola was not willing to accept an offer of a $300 million in bond to postpone any enforcement of the possible German verdict until the U.S. case was settled.

Popcorn anyone?

Data Storage

Submission + - After 60 Years, Tape Reinserts Itself (

Lucas123 writes: While magnetic tape is about as boring as technology gets, it's still the cheapest storage medium and among the fastest in sequential reads and writes. And, with the release of LTO-6 with 8TB cartridges around the corner and the relatively new open linear tape file system (LTFS) being embraced by movie and television markets, tape is taking on a new life. It may even climb out of the dusty archives that cheap disk has relegated it to. "Over the last two years, disk drives have gotten bigger, they've gone from 1TB to 3TB, but they haven't gotten faster. They're more like tape. Meanwhile, tape is going the other direction, it's getting faster," said Mark Lemmons, CTO of Thought Equity Motion, a cloud storage service for the motion picture industry.

Submission + - Airborne Wind Turbines to Produce Low Cost Renewable Energy (

Zothecula writes: Altaeros Energies has announced the first testing of its Airborne Wind Turbine (AWT) prototype that resembles a sort of blimp windmill. The test took place at the Loring Commerce Center in Limestone, Maine, USA where the AWT floated 350 feet (107 meters) into the sky and successfully produced power, before coming back to earth in a controlled landing. The turbine was deployed into the air from a towable docking trailer, while demonstrating that it can produce over twice the power at high altitudes than generated at conventional tower height. There are hopes to energy costs can be reduced by up to 65 percent by harnessing stronger winds that occur at and above an altitude of 1,000 feet (305 meters).

Submission + - Multilingual programming languages - why or why not?

garyebickford writes: "I've thought about this a few times. With all multilingual work on web pages, maybe it is time to make programming languages multilingual. I think it would be relatively easy for the core language — just as in web pages, provide a set of translation files for each 'human' language, and at the top of the source file have a directive to use whichever human language is the default. Then editors could pick up that directive, and display the source code in that language or any other.

Handling source code libraries could be done in a similar manner, although it would be significantly more complicated. And comments — well those might be problematical. And it might be necessary for the programmers to include translation files for variable names. But using this method, someone programming in French and someone programming in English, for example, could both work on the same code base in the language they are most comfortable with, and the code would make sense to both."

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